No two rehab departments are the same. However, working together to cultivate a healthy rehab team is a goal all teams should work toward, no matter the setting or how small or large the staff. Rehab directors Lili Wells, PT and Jenefer Mills, PT believe communication plays a large role in creating healthy environments.
“Effective and clear communication is very important,” says Lili. “It’s helpful to allow an open line of communication between all employees at all levels in the organization.” The best communication is achieved through transparency and open engagement from person to person, regardless of position or discipline. Cultivating mutual respect, setting clear goals, and promoting transparency and positivity help all teams survive challenges and communicate better.
Another word for communication is feedback. According to Jenefer, “Feedback is an art of communication.” Just like we give constant feedback and words of encouragement to our patients, we should turn around and do the same for our fellow therapists.
Acknowledging teammates and providing feedback doesn’t require much. Here are some ideas from Lili and Jenefer of small gestures that will go a long way:
- In the hustle and bustle of a busy day, take the time to verbally and sincerely thank staff and coworkers. It is always appreciated.
- Thoughtful cards and handwritten, personalized notes can express sincere gratitude.
- Share an email of recognition for someone going above and beyond.
- Have potluck parties as a team. Or theme food parties, like a walking taco party, salad party, pizza party, etc. This allows staff to gather and provides a fun way to break up the daily routine. Occasionally providing donuts or cookies can offer the same benefits.
- Create your own monthly appreciation award. You’ll spend time acknowledging and appreciating accomplishments of teammates as you nominate, and you can celebrate nominees and the award recipient once a month.
- Whether it’s a cake for the office or going out to lunch, remembering and acknowledging team birthdays goes a long way.
- Form relationships outside the office by going to one-on-one lunches.
- Start a family day or picnic. Setting aside time for employees to interact with each other’s families creates camaraderie.